Fatal Teen Car Accident in North Carolina a Reminder to Limit Number of Teen Passengers Riding with an Inexperienced Driver

A recent fatal teen car crash in Fayetteville, which injured four passengers and killed two others, has resulted in the young female driver being charged with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle and two counts of felony assault by motor vehicle.

WTVD ABC News reports the teen driver had previously been charged with driving without a license, reckless driving, speeding and driving under the influence. These behaviors are common among young drivers and often lead to fatal consequences following a teen car accident in Statesville, Greensboro or Winston-Salem. The 17-year-old driver had six teen passengers (ranging in ages 14-19) in the car with her at the time of the accident.
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This incident, along with many others is why New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has been working so diligently to get the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection (STANDUP) Act to be considered by the Senate Commerce Committee. Her advocacy has finally paid off reports WAMC, stating that her teen driver proposal has made it through one more step in Congress on its way to becoming law.

Asheville car accident lawyers know that creating a uniform standard for strengthened Graduated Driver’s License (GDL) programs nationwide could give young drivers more experience, as well as, limit the number of passengers permitted to ride with them which in effect should reduce teen car accidents in North Carolina and throughout the country.

Saferoads4teens.org explains that collectively, all states would offer a strengthened GDL program which includes the following key points of the STANDUP Act:

  • Offer three phases of obtaining a license – learner’s permit, intermediate and full license.
  • Teens would not be permitted to start learner’s permit procedure before age 16. A full license with no restrictions would not be obtained before age 18.
  • Only at the full licensure stage would unsupervised night time driving be allowed.
  • Use of mobile devices in any capacity would be forbidden until a full license is obtained.
  • Teen drivers would be restricted to driving with another teen companion until a full license is obtained at age 18.
  • States would have up to three years to comply with the standard GDL requirements. A state failing to comply would forfeit a percentage of federal funds provided to improve highway safety each year.

If the STANDUP Act is passed, North Carolina would need to change the minimum age requirement to obtain a learner’s permit to age 16. Currently, teens can start the process at age 15. Teens are also currently permitted to obtain a full license at 16 years and 6 months which would need to be extended to age 18 under the proposed bill.

Any restrictions placed on teen drivers would need to be extended until they turn 18. For example, North Carolina teens are currently permitted to drive alone at night when they reach the intermediate stage which is age 16.

More research is needed, but studies have shown that teen drivers who gain a lot of experience driving in stages can improve their safety. Gaining knowledge and experience in how to handle dangerous driving situations should be learned a little at a time but can make a difference in keeping young driver accidents to a minimum.

The Lee Law Offices, P.A. protects teen drivers and their parents involved in North Carolina car accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured in Greensboro, Asheville, Charlotte or the surrounding areas, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Teen, host, store owner face charges in fatal wreck, WTVD ABC News
Senator Gillibrand: Teen Driver Proposal Moving, by Tristan O’Neill, WAMC

Statewide Distracted Driving Programs Could Reduce Car Accidents in Asheville, Elsewhere in North Carolina, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 20, 2011

Teens at High Risk of Greensboro Car Accidents in Summer, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 16, 2011

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